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ARTICLE ID 26880

$________ - INCLUDING $________ IN PUNITIVEDAMAGES - BREACH OF CONTRACT BY CIGAR MANUFACTURER - FRAUD - TORTIOUS INTERFERENCE WITH CONTRACT - VIOLATION OF UNIFORM TRADE SECRETS ACT - ALLEGED THEFT OF CUSTOMER LISTS - LOSS OF BUSINESS PROFITS - MOLDED JUDGMENT OF $________.

Miami-Dade County

The plaintiff in this action was a national cigar distributor who claimed that the defendant cigar manufacturer and its affiliates stole its customer lists, fraudulently misrepresented its business relationship and caused it to lose significant business profits. The defendants maintained that the customer list at issue was not secret and was given to them. The defendants also denied selling cigars to the plaintiff’s customers and contended that no promises were made to the plaintiff concerning continuation of its distributorship.

In ________, the plaintiff was a distributor in 49 states for cigars made by the defendant U.S. Cigar Sales, Inc., an affiliate of the defendant UST Inc. The plaintiff claimed that it was given assurances that it would continue its distribution rights for an additional three years.

However, the plaintiff alleged that the defendants conspired to exclude it from the cigar business and set up their own distributorship.

The plaintiff claimed that the defendants stole its customer list and filled orders which were placed by its customers. The plaintiff sought damages for loss of business profits, theft of its customer list and punitive damages.

The defendants denied that there was any breach of the distribution contract between the plaintiff and U.S. Cigar Sales, Inc. The defendants denied that they filled any orders which were placed with the plaintiff.

The defense maintained that the customer list at issue was not secret and was freely given to it by the plaintiff. The defendants also denied that the plaintiff was promised distribution rights for an additional three years and argued that no representations were made to the plaintiff concerning its future business relationship with the defendants.

The defendants also argued that the damages claimed by the plaintiff were speculative and nonexistent.

The jury found that the defendant UST Inc., was not liable on any of the plaintiff’s claims. The jury found for the plaintiff in the total amount of $________ against the remaining defendants. The award included damages for breach of the distribution agreement, tortious interference with business relationships, fraud and violation of the Uniform Trade Secrets Act. The award also included a total of $________ in punitive damages. In a series of posttrial rulings, the court determined that certain portions of the verdict were duplicative and certain other portions were defective as a matter of law. In addition, the court reduced the plaintiff’s compensatory award by a setoff. The total amount of compensatory damages awarded by the court’s final judgment of August 30, ________ was $________, including prejudgment interest. The court awarded $________ in punitive damages and $________ in costs, yielding a total judgment for the plaintiff in the amount of $________.

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